Essay - Privatization of the Prison System and the Impact of the...


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PRIVATIZATION OF THE PRISON SYSTEM AND THE IMPACT ***** THE DIFFERENTIATION OF SENTENCING IN POWDER VERSUS CRACK COCA*****E OFFENSE ***** THE IMPACT ON AFRICAN AMERICAN OFFENDERS

I. HISTORICAL BACKGROUND OF THE POLICY

In 1986 and 1988, the U.S. Congress passed federal sentencing laws related to crack cocaine that differentiated the sentences imposed upon defendants in powder and ***** cocaine ***** offenses in what is known as the 'Anti-Drug Abuse Act of 1986'. These stricter sentencing guidelines were ***** to address the emerging issue of crack cocaine which w***** perceived to be."..a social menace that *****as categorically different from ***** ***** in its physiological and psychotropic effects." Crack cocaine is powder ***** mixed with banking soda and then cooked in***** hard rocks, which are then broken up into smaller pieces ***** sold to those who use the drug by smoking it. Crack cocaine is cheaper than powder ***** and aroused great public concern when it first h***** ***** streets in t*****e Uni*****d States. According to Alfred Blumstein of Carnegie Mellon University, as reported ***** Coyle (2002) in the work entitled: "Race ***** Class Penalties in Crack Cocaine Sentencing" crack cocaine began as an innovation in the drug market "crack distribution rights and boundaries were apportioned amongst competitors with the use of violence." (*****, 2002) The following table relates the median street-level dealer ***** quantities and m*****atory minimum ***** by ***** Anti-Drug Act ***** 1986.

***** Street-Level Drug Quantities and M*****atory Minimums

*****

***** Drug Weight

Mandatory Minimum

Crack *****

52 grams

10 years

Powder Cocaine

340 *****

Source: Coyle (2002

***** created the United ***** Sentencing Commission in 1984 for the purpose of developing federal sentencing guidelines for ***** purpose of bringing about a reduction of sentencing disparity. By 1994 in alliance with provisions set out ***** the Omnibus Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act, the Commission was instructed to conduct a study rel*****ting to different penalties in powder- ***** *****-coca*****e sentencing. The study lasted the duration of one year ***** recommendations ***** the Commission to the U.S. Congress ***** revise the crack/powder 100:1 sentencing disparity due to findings ***** due ***** ***** small differences in the two forms ***** coca*****e that such sentencing disparities were not justifiable. Commission advised an equalization (1:1) of the quantity ratio that would require mandatory ***** relating to the ***** forms ***** cocaine. Commission ***** included advisement that ***** in ***** sentencing should be based upon criteria other than the type of drug for determination ***** the lengths of sentences. These recommendations were rejected by the U.S. Congress along with refusal ***** make changes to ***** law and was in fact the first such move in the history of the United States Sentenc*****g Commission since its' *****mation. Once again, ***** were made in April 1997 regarding the ***** in ***** *****tween crack- and powder-cocaine that the *****ial sentencing should be balanced through provision of a range of 2:1 to 15:1 for ***** to choose ***** among. This new recommendation "was based on both raising

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